This isn't due to any drastic incidents with flammables or acts of God (or Dog), or to a sudden downturn in my financial situation.
It has to do with a silent dome on Montreal's east side, a page in the history books that will never again be rewritten, and a hole in my heart that will never heal.
It has to do with the death, which I am now beginning to come to grips with, of the Montreal Expos.
When it became obvious, sometime in the 2002 season, that any attempts to revive the Expos for the long term were doomed, I began to cut myself off from a love and obsession that I'd had since I before was ten years old. I knew that the pain of losing the team that was first in my baseball heart would be almost unbearable, if I didn't take action early to ease the departure.
By and large, it worked. My love for the Blue Jays, which has flowered in the mid-to-late 80s (but had been mostly killed off after the 1989 season*) came back much stronger than ever, so that instead of being my second-favourite team (my "AL team") they now supplanted the Expos, as best I could manage, in my estimations. The Expos became "my NL team" and remained there until last September. By the time the death knell came, the pain was much less than it could have been.
The problem is, you never forget your first love, do you?
But unless you're pathological, you don't just go on holding a candle to her, either, for the rest of your life, after she becomes a recycling clerk, has *four* kids, marries a grocery store manager and winds up living one subdivision over from where you grew up.** You move on, and you find another woman.
Or, in the case of "NL Team", I guess it's more of a new mistress.
See, baseball once had (still does, to some degree) an advantage for fans that no other major professional sport possesses. The two-league system means that half of the teams almost never faced each other; hence, without the need for schizophrenia, it was possible to have <i>two</i> favourite teams, an "AL team" and an "NL team". Or, as I sometimes think of them, a wife and a mistress.*** Your wife is the team you are outwardly identified with, the team you intend to have a long and productive future with for decades to come, the team that's the repository for your hopes and dreams. Your mistress, which always has to be in the other league so the teams cannot meet regularly (forcing you to choose), is the team that lets you get a little rooting action in on the side.
Where once I was married to the Expos, I now consider myself married to my former mistress. And now that my ex-wife is dead, I need a new NL team, and to discard this crappy, depressing metaphor.
I need a new NL team!
Oddly enough, I can't think of any Bauxites that are primarily NL fans; even among the non-Jays fans on our Roster, they're all to my knowledge either recovering Expos fans, or fans of AL teams. But I know that many of you have NL teams. I'm asking you now - share that passion with me, here. Tell me which NL team I should root for, and why. My only stipulation is that I will *not* root for the Dodgers, not ever, but any of the 15 other NL teams is up for grabs, even the Nationals if it comes to that. I have my little inclinations, but I am honestly curious to see what people come up with, and I promise to take everyone's arguments seriously as I prepare to pick an NL team - if not Team Forever, then at least Team For Right Now.
So who's your "NL team"?
* DAMN YOU RICKEY! DAAAAAMN YOUUUUUUUU!
** True story.
*** This just goes to show how pathetic I am, and probably hammer home the fact that I'm not a mistress kind of guy. It's funny - when I was in my 20s, juggling two women at once was no problem. Now some days I wonder where I get the energy for one.